Saturday, August 20, 2011

Smart Medicine for a Healthier Child

I have been meaning to post about this book, Smart Medicine for a Healthier Child, for awhile.  This is such a fantastic resource with sick kids.  Much to every mother's frustration, the treatment of illness, rash, and injury is usually to wait it out.  But this book has helped me figure out ways to make my kids more comfortable while we wait.  It has also helped me to explore methods of prevention, and it has given me peace of mind in saying exactly when to call a doctor.  (Of course, if I'm really concerned I will immediately call the doctor, but sometimes it's nice to know what I should keep my eye on.)

The heart of the book is laid out in alphabetic order with various ailments.  It gives you descriptions of the illnesses/injuries in terms of symptoms, explains the cause, and then gives you guidelines and treatment options.  You get the conventional stuff (like over-the-counter medications, and a little information about what might be prescribed, or what procedures might be done), herbal remedies, and homeopathy.  You also get dietary guidelines and general guidelines.

I haven't tried much in the way of homeopathy (does this make me not a hippy?).  The few things I have tried haven't seemed to help at all.  But I do fairly regularly use herbs and vitamin supplements, and other items listed in the "herbal" section.  That is mostly because I am encouraged to avoid many of the conventional cold remedies due to my kidney disease

Because of this, I have become a little more aware that all these over-the-counter medications are not completely benign.  Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) like naproxen (Aleve) and ibuprofen (Motrin) can actually cause an acute version of the kidney disease I have.  Acetaminophen (Tylenol) can cause liver damage.  Sudafed can raise blood pressure.  And, of course, cough medicines can make you drowsy and when you're co-sleeping with a baby or just having to parent at night that's a pretty undesirable side effect!

I'm not anti-prescription, anti-over-the-counter or any such thing.  I take prescription medication because of my kidneys and I do take over-the-counter medications on occasion.  I just like to know my options and my kids' and Smart Medicine for a Healthier Child delivers (I don't own the version for adults, but can still use this book for myself).

My best example of this book's usefulness was an ear infection that Bean once woke up with in the middle of the night.  He was screaming in pain and The Beast didn't know what to do.  I consulted the book and considered what I had available.  In the end, I used garlic to ease the pain and sat Bean and The Beast up in a chair in the living room to snuggle and sleep for the rest of the night.  I still took Bean to the pediatrician in the morning and gave him antibiotics (partly because he wouldn't keep letting me use garlic - it was much easier to dose him with antibiotics), but the information in Smart Medicine for a Healthier Child helped us through the night.  (And, for what it's worth, I successfully treated an ear infection in myself with garlic when I was pregnant with Squeak.  I had antibiotics on hand, but figured I'd give garlic a shot.  It worked!  Garlic is kind of the go-to drug in this house...)

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